I am always trying to improve this site to make it easier to read and to provide better information. I have a lot of fun doing this and my hope is that you have a lot of fun reading this site. The more readers, the more reviews, the better I get at doing reviews, and so on. That said, I have some questions that I need to pose to you because I am at a point where I need some advice about what to do next.
It seems like years ago that I announced the contest and that the promise of a Haiku has been hanging over my head for a decade, but the reality is it has been less than a year and we have made it. The site's revenue cache is at $425 right now. That means that the McGizmo Haiku can be purchased probably within the month. In fact, this is a little ahead of schedule, but that is not a bad thing. I am going to hold open the contest until the end of March, but get your reviews in. If you sent me one and think I should have published it by now, drop me another email. Also, if you want to make sure they get published, write them in a format that needs as little work as possible. I like Typepad with links to pictures and products in parentheses. But this all leads to one question: do you want a McGizmo Haiku with a regular or Hi CRI emitter? I am going to put a poll on the right hand side of the page. Vote there.
Website Nip Tuck
Second, I am thinking about having a professional spruce up the page. The site works well and is easy to navigate, but some sites out there look gorgeous. This would obviously cost money and I would have to use the revenue for the site to pay for it. That means the next few hundred dollars would go to that instead of a big giveaway. I will, of course, still give away review samples (give aways are coming). Does this seem like a worthwhile investment or should I just keep the page as it is? Also, anyone have experience with Squarespace? They seem to have a good reputation and I absolutely hate Google Analytics, so they might be an option. Post in the comments below.
Third, I am trying to pin down the article publishing pattern. Ideally, I'd like to get two articles out a week, one a review and one something else. The reviews take a lot of time and effort, so spacing them out a bit prevents me from getting jammed up. Having eight or nine products to review at once is both challenging and slows down the process. I am not complaining, I just want to have new content more often. So here is my idea: I will publish one article on Monday or Tuesday and then a review-type article (a review, a shootout, or a recommendation series) on Friday or Saturday. I'd like to give you something to read on the weekend, when you can take some time and maybe follow a few links all while sipping your coffee. Does this sound like a good idea?
As a corollary to that, I am working on the Recommendation Series for this year. My idea is to publish the first one right before Christmas and then march through them all. I know that most gear folks buy their own stuff, so a pre-Christmas series, while helpful, is probably not as helpful as a post-Christmas series, you know when you have all of that gift money to spend. Our tastes are so specific and exacting its hard to really have others buy for us, so my hope is that by doing it this way, I can help you make decisions at a time when you actually have money to spend.
Lastly, I am working on a few projects. One is an end of the year awards post. It has been fun to write and I have been working on it since October. Look for that just before New Years. Second, I am almost finished with the long ago promised Recommendation Series update. You'll see why I was holding off on it when it is released, but that will be coming also before the end of the year. Next, I am working on securing a few very coveted items for review. I am in talks with a couple of different folks, makers of high quality gear. If I can actually get some of this stuff, I think you'll really enjoy those reviews. Suffice to say, if this works out, I think you'll be really surprised and will enjoy the content.
Finally, thanks. The Haiku giveaway is my way of saying thanks in real terms, but it also needs to be written. I am approaching my 1 millionth view. In 18 months, that is a pretty impressive number, at least to me. I know there are big and better sites out there, but this is a hobby and while I have put a ton of time in, I have no money or virtually no money in. This place is all about the content. I started it because there was no one doing written systematic reviews on the Internet. I wanted to make a site that I would enjoy reading, hoping that a few of you were like me and might enjoy reading it too. Lots of people have helped to make this site great.
Thanks to my patient wife and my ever-willing-to-destroy-stuff son. Thanks also to the makers and manufacturers of gear, you have all been very gracious, especially Leatherman, CRKT, 47s, Sunwayman, and Tom Bihn. Thanks to small makers like Oveready, Prometheus Flashlights, TT PockeTTools, and Steve Ku. A special shout out to Enrique Muyshondt for making the Mark II. Thanks also to Blade HQ. Their review samples have been tremendously helpful in getting new reviews out as soon as possible. Thanks to the guys over on reddit that send tons of page views my way via a few different EDC threads. Thanks for other EDC reviewers, Aaron, Dan, and Andrew, in particular. Thanks to my "home" forum, EDCF, and the guys and gals over there for being the smartest, nicest, least jackass-y people on the Internet. Thanks mostly to you for reading. Lots of you have been here since the beginning and I am grateful for the views but more so for the knowledge you send me. I learn more from you than I could ever send your way. Often times I feel like I am simply telling all of you what one of you told me.
If you keep reading, I'll keep writing.
Get those reviews in and vote for whichever Haiku you want. After all, it is free. Who else gives away a $450 flashlight for FREE? Yes I know Cajun Blaze gave away a Sebenza, but this is about $100 more...